Off to Malmö now which usually brings a more ethnic flavour to the lineup; cue some reggae and rap along with three more returnees to the contest.
Heat 2: Malmö – February 14th
1. Mariette – A Million Years
Mariette is the second artist to benefit from the reuniting of G:son and Boström. Finishing third in 2015 with the Miss Li-penned Don’t Stop Believing, she returns with A Million Years, which is reported to be more pacy in style. Mariette hasn’t released music since My Revolution over a year ago, so this return to Melfest could be a way of revitalising her career, though first in the running order might see her shunted to andra chansen. David Lindgren qualified from slot 1 last year, but he benefitted from a massive TV profile. You then have to go back to 2014 where Alcazar and Yohio qualified from the first slot; again, both had huge profiles and a motivated fanbase.
Press screening: Slow build. It’s an indie Euphoria with EDM chorus and clear hook. In contention.
2. Roger Pontare – Himmel Och Hav
The Melfest 2000 winner returns with what is described as an ethnic/orchestral ballad. Something tells me Pontare doesn’t have G:son’s best song this year, and being up against stiff competition, it’s wise to look elsewhere for value in this heat.
Press screening: Not very modern. Bit of a campfire song.
3. Etzia – Up
Etzia will be hoping Melfest viewers enjoy her brand of reggae. I’m less positive for Etzia’s chances here, however, Malmö is probably the best location to perform this genre. Etzia has suggested a poppier reggae song, which she’ll need to overcome this poor running order slot.
Press screening: Dancehall meets Kizunguzungu. Shakira – This Time for Africa.
4. Allyawan – Vart Haru Varit
Like Etzia, Allyawan is bringing an alternative sound to a popular music contest. Again, Malmö is the perfect city to host this genre, though I can’t imagine the rest of Sweden taking to him. He does have a dedicated following, so in the slim chance his song appeals to a broader church, I wouldn’t oppose him for andra chansen without hearing the song. Genre: Midtempo-Ballad.
Press screening: RnB/rap. Hook not strong enough.
5. Dismissed – Hearts Align
Time for this year’s dose of rock and one that could surprise given their colourful live performances – they’re sure to be memorable! They have Ark frontman, Ola Salo, in the writing team along with Melfest regular, Peter Kvint, who has credits with Darin, Yohio and A-ha. Kvint and Salo collaborated last year on Sing Me Out, which was performed during the andra chansen interval. I think we’ll get something equally anthemic for this year’s Melfest, so they shouldn’t be Dismissed.
Press screening: Bit of an album track. Capable of andra chansen.
6. Lisa Ajax – I Don’t Give A
With the Debs and Anton Hard af Segerstad in the writing team, it’s comes as no surprise that people are talking up Lisa Ajax as the one to beat in this year’s lineup. Last year’s song had a killer chorus, but the package was a little safe and stale compared to the eventual top-4. There are also concerns over Lisa’s likability and ability to sell a song, and that’s the challenge facing Lisa and her all star team of writers; can they improve enough upon last year to make Lisa a genuine contender? I have taken some of the early high-teens odds available, but can’t recommend current sub-10/1 prices until we hear the song, but given she beat pimp-slotted Oscar Zia from 5th in the running order last year, qualification should be routine given the writers. Genre: Midtempo-Ballad.
BACK LISA AJAX DIREKT – 20/21 @ UNIBET
Press screening: Better than last year. Influenced by Sia and Ariana Grande.
7. Benjamin Ingrosso – Good Loovin’
Benjamin is like an older Frans but with a better vocal. There are slight Bieber musical influences too, though I don’t think any of Ingrosso’s releases to date are capable of winning Melfest. However, he did win Lilla Melfest in 2006 with Hej Sofia, which also reminds me of Frans. Even so, his Australian writing team could be the difference. Schoorl has written songs for Jessica Mauboy, Guy Sebastian (Tonight Again), Dami Im and The Fooo, who appear in heat 3. At this point, I think Benjamin is knocking on the door for qualification and the 5/2 available at the time of the running order publication did appeal. I wouldn’t recommend taking lower until the snippets are released. Just a note on popularity, Benjamin won the Swedish version of Strictly Come Dancing in 2014. Genre: Energetic Uptempo
Press screening: Modern soulful pop song that Justin Timberlake would release.
Mariette’s A Million Years is the only song showing any potential for the final. Lisa Ajax hasn’t met the pre-show hype, but the staging looks good and her fanbase is extremely motivated. Ingrosso’s Good Lovin’ really doesn’t do it for me. The song has this plodding beat and the he looks laboured on screen. The Justin Timberlake comparisons are quite wide of the mark.
It’s a difficult week given we have three songs vying for the two direkt places. Had Ajax or Ingrosso been singing from slot 1, I doubt they could be considered for direkt qualification, whereas Mariette should qualify from that position.
- Lisa Ajax
- Benjamin Ingrosso
Who’s on your qualification list in Malmö?